Viva La Playa is Open
Cuisine for the Senses
by Maribel Alvarez
Authentic, Bold & Artisanal
Latin American Cuisine
I’ve been a long time fan of Chef Jeremy Hanlon and have been enjoying his superb fresh mahi tacos and the best paella this side of the Atlantic since he, Lee and Max Lipton upgraded the 30 year surfside dining landmark, Benny’s on the Beach, to a gourmet destination in 2013. So when I heard the team opened their much anticipated Latin American restaurant, I knew it was going to a home run. The fact that they offer outdoor dining, both oceanfront as well as on their west patio overlooking sunsets on the intracoastal, made it easy to lure cautious Palm Beachers adhering to social distancing recommendations.
Forbes Magazine beat me to it!
The guests I took to experience this new dining destination were savvy and demanding. From Mexicans ready to critique, to two French chefs, (and we all know how finicky the French can be), the resounding verdict included the following quotes: “Excellent’, “Fabuleux” and “why has it taken so long for a fine Latin restaurant to come to Palm Beach“. Except, I’m not the first one to boast. Forbes Magazine featured the exquisite cuisine in an article September 14th “An International Journey of taste with Artisanal Cuisine at Viva La Playa’ before I had a chance to spread the word.
During my first visit, Angie, the general manager, took the time to explain to our guests Chef Jeremy’s background, his cooking and education experiences during his extensive travels abroad and how they use only local fresh market ingredients not only in their dishes but in their signature cocktails.
Scroll through slides to virtually sip!
Let’s talk about our dining experience!
The grilled guacamole is a must! After a couple of visits I discovered a side of guacamole and fresh home-made tortillas accompany ANY subsequent dish ordered. Their menu features small plates and shared dishes which makes it fun for larger groups. On my third visit, our group of six ordered the Picada, which allowed us to make our own tacos, choosing from the shaved prime rib, rotisserie chicken, mojo pork and a variety of sauces. My vegetarian son was in heaven with a huge array of dishes to select from. Having savored Chef Jeremy’s paella at Benny’s, the Mariscos was a shoe in: Fabulous medley of fresh seafood in a light saffron broth is a must! The Snapper Verde, Seared Tuna and the Rotisserie Chicken are repeats for me!
Below is a sneak peek of what we tasted during our 3 visits!